Battle Report: Defend Alderaan – Warboar, Bromley

I have to admit, I’ve been pretty slack this summer. Not with the playing – I’ve been chucking dice weekly and this is my fourth tournament over the last five weeks. You might even say that I’ve been a slave to the plastic crack, too busy thinking about lists and the mechanics of the game to update my blog.

I would be lying if I said I didn’t feel guilty for not writing up the tournaments.  The droid is most unhappy that I haven’t shared the pictures of his loot. Much like the Cabin Boy on the Scum & Villainy podcast, I have been locked away in the brig; living off of space weavils and the dregs of rum that have slipped through the floorboards. It’s a hard knock life.

I promised him that I would share these with you:

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This came from the Deal or No Deal tournament at LVL Up, Bournemouth
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These beauties came from the Summer Kit at iBuyWargames, Woking

The Lost Missions

I didn’t make it to Nationals, I couldn’t quite justify the travel costs, hotel fee and entry (Gots to eat yo!). What I did manage to do was to attend two alternative format tournaments that really did encourage my creative thinking around the game. The first was the Deal or No Deal tournament at LVL Up, Bournemouth where Tom and I paid £50 each for a semi-randomised collection of ships from a particular faction and put them into play. Think about it: you could get a bunch of A-Wings in a Rebel box, but no Autothrusters because those only come in the Autothruster Booster pack (you get a free Star Viper in with that one). You might get a Mist Hunter in a Scum Box but no FCS as these only come with the Tie Phantom or B-Wings.

Qui_Gon_Jinn_(2014_redesign)
Qui Gonn posing as Noel Edmunds

Long story short: I got a Punishing One and a Hound’s Tooth in my box and went two and two for the day. I have drafted version of the write-up but quite honestly, I think the moment has passed. These ships have flown.  In no way did I fly as well as Tom, who went undefeated the entire day (you can read his report here).

 

R4dNiC

 

I digress.

The important reason I have called you here today is because we have received word that the Empire has built a moon sized station with the ability to destroy an entire planet. They call this the Star Deather, er…Murder Planet (I couldn’t well make a joke out of Star Killer), and it is primed and ready to destroy Alderaan.

Who am I kidding? We all know what really happened:

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Tom and I caught wind of another alternative format, the conditions were as follows:

ALL FACTIONS:
– Up to 100pts cap per squad
– No more than 50pts to be spent on a single ship
– No more than 1 ‘Twin Laser Turrets’ allowed in a list
– No more than 2 ‘Crackshot’ Elite Pilot Talents in a list
IMPERIALS:
– No ‘Palpatine’ crew card allowed
SCUM:
– No more than 1 Jumpmaster 5000 in a list
REBELS:
– No ‘R2-D2’ astromech card allowed

Jason and his staff at Warboar work incredibly hard to really make their events fly. There’s a healthy helping of role play that goes along well with atmosphere in store, not to mention the amazing prize support, at one stage someone’s ship was destroyed by the Death Star and they were rewarded with a brand new Tantive IV. Where else have you seen that happen, especially with only a fiver entry fee?

I’m a firm beliver that set boundaries encourage some healthy variety and creativity. I couldn’t go with my Phoenix Squadron or Den-Bot build (no Dengaroo welcome either). I  had been working on a build that really relied on developing some synergy – two words: Attani Mindlink.

I took the following list

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I call this Jumpmaster Flash, it comes in at 100 points.

Recently, Tom and I had been discussing the fundamentals of building a list

I ask myself this one question: How do I beat Soontir?

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Check his pockets for tokens

Tom had come up with an excellent point, Imperials will often turtle up and the /X7 Defender title doesn’t make it any easier.  If you have a two attack dice ship, let’s call them, I don’t know…er… A-Wings, how do you break through the defences of something that has three agility dice, a focus and an evade token? My answer, a mixture of blocking and ordinance, as well as some Scum shenanigans. Palob steals tokens; Dengar crew helps Manaroo with re-rolls; Feedback Array ensures hits get through, whilst also damaging yourself and the guidance chips help to push the ordinance through. Simple, right?

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Before I go any further, the Death Star was a constant sword of Damocles throughout the day, interupting games and firing at ships. If your ship was hit by the lasers (not rolling an evade from a given number of dice that decreased with each round), your ship would explode and would be down for the game.

Game One – Henry Westcott 69-100 (Loss)

Henry’s List was:

T-65 X-Wing – Wes Janson

  • Veteran Instincts
  • R3-A2
  • Integrated Astromech

T-70 X-Wing – Poe Dameron

  • Push the Limit
  • BB8
  • Autothrusters

Attack Shuttle – Sabine Wren

  • Push the Limit
  • Kanan Jarrus
  • Autoblaster Turret

Henry’s list is an admirable one. I love the repositional aspect of Poe, using both BB8 and PTL (it makes a good change from VI and R5-P9). The Attack Shuttle’s dial wouldn’t normally suit PTL, but the addition of Kanan helps to shift the stress after executing a white manouevre. Wes at PS 10 ensures he’ll often be shooting first. In short, both Poe and Wes could wreak havoc on my ships without me having rolled any red dice.

Henry took out N’Dru in the first round of combat before he even got a chance to fire off the cluster missiles. Having looked at the combined shield and hull of my ships still on the board, I didn’t lose hope, especially not when I used the Plasmas to help Poe’s explosion.

The remainder of the game was incredibly tight, with the Pirate exploding and then the Hawk using the Autoblaster turret at range one to bring Wes down to one hull.

Roo then attacked Sabine, whose green dice blanked out. Pew. Pew. She was gone. Nobody was more surprised than me.

As Jason sounded the klaxon to signal the end of the game we each had one ship left, both Wes and Roo were down to one hull. Henry asked if I would like to squeeze in another round and I reluctantly agreed. Having worked out the maths, I had nothing to lose except perhaps 20 more points of MOV. If Roo somehow survived, it would be 69 – 80. I set up with me attempting to get into range three to maximise the range bonus.

Game Two Daniel Hammond 100-34 (Win)

Daniel’s list was

Tie Defender – Countess Ryad

  • Outmaneuver
  • Twin Ion Engine Mk.II
  • Tie/X7

Tie Defender – Rexler Brath

  • Juke
  • Twin Ion Engine Mk.II
  • Tie/X7

Tie/FO Fighter – Omega Leader

  • Juke
  • Comm Relay

Take a moment and look back at the limitations on the format: no more than two Crack Shots – but what about those pesky Defenders? They’ve come off unscathed here, with the /X7 title out in force. With that brief moan, I really like Daniel’s list. Outmaneuver on Ryad seems like a good idea because of her potential repositional ability and Juke on Brath seems fairly solid.

Ryad was down in the first round of combat after a combination of feedback array and the Revenge Bot but 20 minutes into the game Jason approached our table announcing that the Death Star had fired at my HWK.

I had five evade dice and needed only one evade. No pressure. Just one evade right? The probability of that one hit getting through 5 agility dice with no modifiers is less than 10%. I rolled one evade. Yup.One’s enough.

Daniel caused an explosion for the Pirate, who seemed to act as a good decoy during this game as my remaining ships then focused fire on Brath, leaving only Omega Leader to tackle. After getting her down to one hull, she found herself in range one of Manaroo with me using Feedback array again to kill her and reduce myself to partial points on Roo.

Game Three Lloyd Boman 33-100 (Loss)

Lloyd’s list was:

Tie Defender – Glaive Squadron Pilot

  • Juke
  • Tie/X7

Tie Defender – Countess Ryad

  • Juke
  • Tie/X7

Tie Interceptor – Carnor Jax

  • Push the Limit
  • Royal Guard Title
  • Twin Ion Engine Mk.II
  • Autothrusters

I’ve spoken to Lloyd at tournaments a few times and he is well known for his double Ghost list, although he wasn’t playing that today. He’s a thoroughly nice man, which makes it even harder as he smiles while throwing dice at you.

He killed the Pirate first and then I managed to use both fire and Feedback Array to kill Ryad.

This game was really tense and, again, it came down to having each of our ships on only a few hull points (his were on one more hull than mine, Grrrr Boman!)

N’Dru managed to survive an amazing bout of attacks but eventually Lloyd got through the hit that he needed and I was left with only Roo on the board whilst Carnor and the Glaive Squadron Pilot each ahd two hull left. Roo pulled the Major Hull Breach Crit at just the right time, with only one hull left it didn’t really matter. Lloyd flew better and he knew his list better. There were points where I forgot the Revenege Bot and Guidance Chips. Silly Boy. A pleasure playing against Lloyd (I’ll get you next time).

Things weren’t looking good for the Pirate.

Game Four Tom Clements 100-67 (Win)

Tom’s list was:

Aggressor – IG88-B

  • Ion Cannon
  • Mangler Cannon
  • Fire Control Systems
  • Autothrusters
  • IG-2000 title
  • Glitterstim

Aggressor – IG88-D

  • Ion Cannon
  • Mangler Cannon
  • Fire Control Systems
  • Autothrusters
  • IG-2000 title
  • Glitterstim

I didn’t bring a standard Bro-Bot list to a friendly tournament because I didn’t want to be That Guy.

You’re right Tom, I know all about being That Guy.

I often enjoy the last game of a tournament the most, it can be the most fun and the most challenging. This was no exception.

By Game Four, the battle had got even closer to the Death Star and if it fired at your ship, you would be given only three green dice to roll an evade. It hadn’t yet destroyed a ship through the day so Lord Vader had decreed that the attacks would increase to one every 10 minutes. The table next to ours was called upon to be attacked before they had even finished deploying their ships. Brown trousers all around.

It was in this round that somebody lost their Mist Hunter, only to be rewarded with a Tantive IV for their troubles. How awesome is that?

Back to the game: it was R5-P8 that really clinched the game. I knew the Bro-Bots would be a tough match but when I saw that Tom had only brought small obstacles with him, I thought I mgt be in with a chance.

Again, the Pirate served as fodder whilst Palob got in close and stole tokens which then rewarded the other members of the list thanks to Attani Mindlink.

N’Dru did manage to fire his Clusters, which made short work of IG-88D. Manaroo couldn’t quite get into the right range to deploy the Plasmas.

IG-88B spent a fair amount of time with one hull left whilst Manaroo couldn’t quite get into the correct range to get off the Plasma Torps. This meant keeping her facing 88B Inman attempt to stop Autothrusters kicking in. Eventually, 88B pushed a Blinded Pilot crit through to Roo, halting attacks, but not the Revenge Bot. This was the final shot needed. A really tense game for all involved. Awesome.

Blinded Pilot

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Moments before I used R5 -P8 to secure my victory in game four, something even bigger was happening in the trenches of the Death Star; Biggs Darklighter (James Dowdall of the 186th Squadron) fired a lone attack dice at the Death Star and caused a monumental explosion that would really piss off Lord Vader.

Well done that man!

A further digression. I finished 14th with a new list; I’m fairly happy with two and two. Would I keep the list? Certainly, perhaps with some refinement. Maybe there’s a Fenn Rau shaped hole in it waiting for the boat for Wave 9 to come in.

My biggest consideration for now, is what to do with N’Dru. Dead Eye? Lone Wolf? If I went for the latter of the two, what would I drop?

The Attani Mindlink combined with Roo and Paylob’s abilities is a win. Some might go with Unhinged Astromech and K4 Security Droid, using Dengar crew saves a point. What about dropping Dengar for Zuckass and taking the R4 Agromech or the Overclocked R4? Whilst Mindlink gets around the need for an action at times, therefore mitigating possible problems caused by Zuckass crew, I’m reluctant to drop the Revenge Bot. Like Feedback Array, it will often help to push through some damage in an Aces heavy meta.

It is by no means a perfect list, but it is one I enjoy playing, and I’m pleased that I haven’t come across much else like it. Massave thanks to Tom for helping me refine it.

A huge thank you, as always, to Jason and his team for a tournament that thoroughly made my bank holiday. Nice work.

I have no clue what he does with his loot.

Phoenix Squadron

I decided to devise callsigns for my A-Wing Crack swarm. Thanks for the help from @theryanfarmer #Mynocksquadron

Note: This post was originally part of my battle report for the Wave IX tournament at ibuywargames, Woking (You can find the full report here). It was a lengthy post, so I decided to cut this. In the interests of my own evaluation process, I have decided to include this as a separate post (selfish, I know). Subsequently, you might recognise some of the text below.

Whilst getting to grips with how to fly an A-Wing Crack-Swarm (you can read about my thoughts on formation flying here), I came across the latest Mynock Squadron PodcastFirespray and Pray (you can find it here, jump to 32:00)  and Ryan Farmer has given each of his A-wings in the swarm different callsigns: Dragon, Mynock, Raptor, Tackle and Tex (each inspired by the different Mynocks). He has painted them individually and kept stats on each of them. Ryan addresses the concept of confirmation bias, fully acknowledging that he may well be ‘setting them up for positions of success and failure’.

Ryan was kind enough to send me this picture of his squadron.

Ryan has even created personalised cards for each ship with a justification of their names.

whoah

Famous Fives

I could go for Julian, Dick, Anne, George and Timmy. This doesn’t fit, not to mention the embedded racism and xenophobia. Well, there’s the Ghostbusters: Venkman, Spengler, Stanz, Zeddemore and Slimer.  I have the lego kit for this, thus making it easier to remember who is who for the first few games, but I have no Slimer.

Then there’s the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Leo, Raph, Michelangelo, Donatello and Kasey. I’m actually tempted to go with this, but I’m not fully committed.

I started to think about mythical beasts and went down two routes

•Beasts of the ground: Black Dog, Hydra, manticore, Wendigo (this one is awesome by the way, possessing humans and turning them into canonballs), Orthros, Cerberus

•Winged Beasts: Phoenix, Griffin, Sprite, Wraith, Roc, – drop Sprite for Shade

I began searching for creatures from Star Wars (both Canon and Legends) that would lend themselves to a squadron of A-Wings, it went a little like this:

In the end, it was when I was searching for Starbird, that I came across this:

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Sabine’s Phoenix logo from Rebels

 

Then it suddenly seemed straight forward:

A) Phoenix,

B) Inferno,

C) Flame,

D) Blaze,

E) Flare.

It might seem like I’m making more work for myself, but actually, I think it’s an important psychological step when getting to grips with various formations of a swarm. I have to add: as an experiment, I kept a log of which ships performed which actions and exploded (or not) as a way of evaluating my performance and getting to know my list. It was only when writing this report that I assigned each ship (previously denoted by my target locks A-E) with the titles above.

Does it make a difference? Here are some observations from my first tournament using this list:

  • Game one (matched against 2x Tie Defenders and a Tie Bomber) I didn’t forget to use Crack Shot, but I didn’t get to use them on Phoenix (A), Inferno (B) or Flare (E).
  • It was Phoenix (A) who turned the wrong way in the penultimate round against the jumpmasters in game two.
  • Game three (matched against 4 Baffaloes) Phoenix (A) went down against Baffaloes, along with Blaze (D), it was Inferno (B), Flame (C) and Flare (E) that held out and won the game.
  • Phoenix (A) exploded with the direct hit in game four (matched against thee T-65s).
  • Inferno (B) died without using Crack Shot in two separate games.
  • Flame (C) was the only one to land on a rock all throughout four games.

Did you notice the same pattern? Phoenix. She’s mentioned a lot.

It could simply be a reflection of how I move my ships. For instance, if Phoenix (A) is placed first and given an upfront position, she is more likely to see the action, right? Flame (C) and Blaze (D) might well be mentioned less as a result of simply being the Green Squadron equivalent of fodder. Maybe.

What I’m interested in now is what if my personification of the ships leads me to make different decisions about placement and strategy.

We’ll just have to see.

Dirty Den(gar)

My response to Dhaus’ arc-dodging #Dengar build #Xwing #Scum #jumpmaster #itsgettinghothinhere

DHaus, of the Stay On Target podcast, published a Dengar arc-dodger exploration on Team Covenant last week that you can find here.

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DHaus’ optimal Dengar build.

I’ve been working on my own Dengar build for a while, Den-Bot, and wanted to throw my own into the ring. You can find the evolution of my list, along with my most recent successes and woes from the Womp Rats tournament in Aldershot here.

I see Dengar as a bit of a puzzle; he has an awesome ability that encourages players to fly the ship with your opponent in arc, rather than simply using the turret. Couple this with the ship’s dial and he is the most interesting PS9 large ship pilot, especially as he’s Scum.

Den Re-con

IG

Above was my previous list of Dengar with IG-88B, which barely left room for anything else to be removed unless I stripped down Dengar entirely, giving him just Predator and then Engine Upgrade.

I don’t want to leave Dengar naked, so I’m willing to substitute 88B in order to make room for EU and maximise Dengar’s potential as an arc-dodger.

Dengar with Predator, the Punishing One title, Engine Upgrade come in at 52 points. Through experience, Dengar also could do with Recon Specialist to make the most of his revenge ability, that’s now 55 points. I’m a big fan of the revenge bot, R5-P8, but it’s a little too expensive here, so I’m going with the R4 Agromech, which takes me to 57 points in total.

Jump & Fire (100 points)
Pairing Dengar with Kath Scarlet allows you the advantage of having a turret and a second ship with an auxiliary firing arc. Kath’s ability allows you to gain an extra attack dice from the back arc.

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Standard builds for Kath allow an Engine Upgrade, VI, the K4 Security Droid and some sort of canon. I think that the Outlaw Tech is a better as it’s less limiting than the Security Droid. Nonetheless, points are a factor so I’ve tried to be inventive with my Kath build.

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Firespray movements

I don’t have room for the Engine Upgrade on Kath and have swapped VI for adaptability, therefore still increasing the PS whilst not losing any points. Looking at the dial, the Firespray does have a one forward and a one bank.  It’s not a boost but it’ll have to do.

 

I’m determined to find a slot for the Boba Fett crew card and so therefore need to take the Mangler Canon to maximise the potential for using it.

This brings my Kath build in at 43 points and a 100 point total.

Den of Razz(matazz) (100 points)

John Wainscott played a Latts build at my first tournament in Aldershot (you can read about it here).

I like the Gunner ability and I love the irony of waiting for your ship to miss when you combine it with Bossk.

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Latts Gunner Bosk.png

To make Dengar fit the points here, I have to drop Predator for Lone Wolf. When you look at the odds here, you’re looking at a 37.5% chance of rolling a blank to enable the re-roll.

There isn’t room for an Engine Upgrade on Latts, but when you look at his dial the red zero makes up for it.

Denaroo (98 points)

Pairing Dengar with Manaroo allows a little room for fluff (she is his wife in the EU), as well as giving you a big bag of tricks for the pairing.

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Manaroo Torps.png

As far as the Dengar build is concerned, I am able to include Predator and R5-P8, as well as Glitterstim. I can load Up Manaroo with Plasma Torpedoes and Extra Munitions with Deadeye.  I haven’t yet used Feedback Array on any of my builds, this seems a fairly good spot.

For that final touch of fluffiness; Boba Fett crew card. See her soar over the Sarlacc Pit.

I could even substitute the Plasmas for Protons and make Boba earn his money.

Jamie’s Dengar Manaroo build from the Spring Kit at Marquee Models (you can read about it here) really impressed me and reminded me how my Scum lists could use a little more imagination and more synergy.

When I look at Manaroo’s ability, I can’t help but wonder if Deadeye and loading her up with torps isn’t a waste here?  What I do know is that once I’ve fully loaded both Dengar and Manaroo, the list comes in at 98 points, that’s not a bad initiative bid.

Even a Sith Lord is no match for my warriors. He put up quite a fight. Blasters, cannons, that glowy thing, voom-voom…

I started writing this a week ago. By now, Yavin has come and gone and the party bus build has emerged:

Slaver (29)

  • Gunner (5)
  • Bossk (2)
  • 4-LOM (1)

Slaver (29)

  • Greedo (1)
  • Fett (1)
  • Dengar (3)

G1a – Starfighter – Zuckaus (28)

  • Mist Hunter/Tractor Beam (1)

Look at that bag of tricks. All of it. What does this do to my thinking above? Nothing, except perhaps confirm that the Bounty Hunter crew cards are where it’s really at, rather than simply going for high PS.  Dee Yun had published a web comic with the Party Bus here

I like this version of the party bus, but I’m working on something a little more varied:

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If you’re interested, this comes in at 98 points.  I’ve spent a long time trying to figure out how I could get Gunner in there too – it just doesn’t work if you want Zuckuss.

I began this post wanting to explore how these list ideas measured up to my original Den-Bot list.  Each one offers an increase in shields; a decrease in agility dice; a loss of Autothrusters and slightly less manoeuvrability. I can’t see why you wouldn’t go with the fluff of Jump and Fire or Denaroo.

What are your thoughts?

I Can Fly Anything!

Ordinance vs a more effective EPT? What about that revenge bot? He looks badass, right? Illicit upgrades?

There’s always room to evaluate your list, even if I have spent lots of time trying to remember complex sequences of actions…

With the week leading up to the Spring Kit at ibuywargames, Woking, I resolved that the answer wasn’t changing my Den-Bot list, but to play it as much as possible in an attempt to fly better.

Then again, ordinance vs a more effective EPT? What about that revenge bot? He looks badass, right? Illicit upgrades?

There’s always room to evaluate your list, even if you have spent lots of time working on remembering

Spend focus + acquire target lock + roll four dice + spend target lock to re-roll all dice except hits or crits + adjust one blank with Guidance Chips (if applicable) + possibly remove a shield after damage has been taken into account.

This was me trying to remind myself of my sequence of attack on my previously ordinance heavy Dengar build. You can read about the first time I used this list at the Dark Sphere Winter Kit tournament here. Have a look at the build below


Plasma Torps; Dead Eye to activate the torps without needing a target lock; the R4 Agromech to gain a target lock to immediately re-roll dice where needed and guidance chips to adjust a blank to a hit or hit to a crit. As well as Extra Munitions to allow me to repeat this trick.

When you do the maths, that’s a total of 8 points being spent on what is essentially a double alpha strike (alpha & beta?).  What about that title card? 12 points for an extra attack dice.

How much is an extra attack dice worth?

As a basic comparison, if I look at a Green Squadron A-Wing, I’m paying 19 points (17 with Chardaan re-fit) for a two attack dice ship with two shield and two hull.  Your average Zeta Squadron Pilot has similar stats (swap a hull for a shield) and that comes in at 16.  Rounding up, that’s 17 points for a two attack dice small ship (not very accurate, I know).

What about large base ships? The Contracted Scout comes in at 25 points for two attack dice.  The Wild Space Fringer comes in at 30 points for two attack dice. A Mandolorian Mercenary comes in 35 points for three attack dice.  So are we roughly estimating that you should be paying around 10 points for that extra attack dice rather than the 12 on the title card? Maybe.

Regardless, if I look at my previous Dengar build, I have spent 12 points on the title card and 8 points on making the ordinance work.  Am I spending 12 points on the title that isn’t really being used as a consequence of the ordinance?

I found that when encountering the triple Contracted Scout list at the Spring Kit in Marquee Models, Harlow (you can find the battle report here), there were three rounds in the first game where my opponent didn’t take an opportunity to attack Dengar, fearing the revenge shot of his ability.  That’s right, I managed some pretty good flying and managed to keep the Scouts in my primary firing arc whilst still keeping myself out of theirs.

How can I strengthen this fear of Dengar? I have eight points to play with if I drop ordinance. First stop: EPT – I’m a fan of Lone Wolf and I can see it will come in handy for the end game.  Next, Astromech: though I like the R4 Agromech’s  ability of providing a target lock when spending a focus, I’m keen to give R5-P8 a try as it isn’t an action based form of attack/defence. There is a 1/8 chance that it could backfire but those are pretty good odds.

Finally, for my illicit upgrade, I feel torn between Glitterstim and Inertial Dampners. I like the potential threat of each of these, the question is, which am I more willing to gamble upon? If I were interested in initiative, I would definitely go with the Dampners but I find the Jumpmaster’s 1 forward is an adequate substitute. Right now, I’m leaning towards Glitterstim, especially if I take into account the re-roll ability of Lone Wolf.

Attack Dengar.png

What about IG88-B? The other change I’ve made from the Dengar build is dropping Zuckuss so that I might play around with the EPT on 88B. I’ve gone with Crack Shot in the past and have made a great effort to remember using it; of all the EPTs, it’s really cost effective.  My other considerations are VI, Predator or PTL.

The standard pilot skill of 6 is fine by me, if anything, I’m interested in the possibility of Adaptability so that I might give myself a blocking or firing edge over other IGs.  With the point cost of 0, it would give me either a 3 point intiative bid or the opportunity of an illicit upgrade.  Tempting.

With PTL, I’m attempting to avoid stress so that leaves this card out.

Why Predator? My answer is linked to Fire Control Systems; the option of a continuous target lock is an attractive one but Advanced Sensors is a much more beneficial systems upgrade.  With Predator, as long as I can remember, I can take a re-roll when attacking and it isn’t limited to ‘once per round…’

88B Pred.png

100 points total.

What are the pitfalls? If I go with Predator on 88B over Adaptability or Crack Shot, I have no initiave bid.

I have to remember to take advantage of both Predator and Lone Wolf.  I have to remember I have Glitterstim on the table and that it’s not just for show, even though the Twi’lek on the card looks pretty cool.

I’ll let you know when Sunday comes.

May the Fourth be With us All (Or How I Got Schooled Part Deux)

This is my final post where I look at the progression of my first competitive list from start to finish in the Dark Sphere Slow Grow Tournament.

Introducing this post is a bit of an odd one.  It is my final post where I look at the progression of my first competitive list from start to finish. You can read about how I got on in the first two rounds of the Dark Sphere Slow Grow tournament here.

This is also the second part of a two part post that explores what I have learned playing X-Wing over the last four months. You can read my first post on this, titled Games Where I got Schooled (Part One) here.

Before we go any further, here is the list I was playing for this third round of the Slow Grow tournament at Dark Sphere, Waterloo.


Lesson our: Listen when your opponent explains their list to you

This final lesson is about knowing the strengths of your list and knowing how to cause your opponent aggro. Ask your opponent about their list if you don’t know what their pilots do or about their upgrades. They’re unlikely to be secretive or think you’re cheating; the cards are all on the table. Ask questions.

I’m not saying ‘Don’t fly casual’, but I am saying ‘Pay attention if you want to fly better and win.’

How does this apply to the final round of the Slow Grow?

My first game of round three was actually really intense, practically a mirror match. Chris flew: Poe with Predator, BB-8 and Autothrusters; a stresshog and Miranda in a K-Wing with C-3PO and TLT.  As we set out our rocks and positions, I decided to treat my A-Wings as Canon fodder, playing them up front and trying to use Crack Shot to cancel any evades that might come my way.

I aimed my offensive at Poe being as this was the first Poe I had come across without R5-P9 or R2-D2.

Both Y-Wings stayed out of the game pretty much until Poe had gone down.  The ensuing face off between my A-Wings and Y-Wing and Chris’ Y-Wing formed a pretty nonsense war of attrition taking all four ships out of the game. This left Ello and Miranda.  Both re-genning rebels in a dogfight that lasted the remaining twenty minutes of the game. With both ships still on the board at the end of 75 minutes, we worked out that my Ello was worth 37 points and Chris’ Miranda was worth 38.  A modified draw there then.

Game Two didn’t start well, I had forgotten a base so had to buy a ship before starting. Yep.  That kind of a no brainer that I have only myself to blame for.

Carnor_Jax

Keep your distance, but don’t look like you’re trying to keep your distance

I played Alex, his list was a Tie Advanced Prototype with the Inquisitor; Carnor Jax; a pilot skill 3 Tie Fighter and a pilot skill 2 Tie Advanced. Secret plans and clever tricks were afoot with this list that really left my ships in a mess.

Take Carnor, for instance.  No seriously. Take him.  Like away.

Carnor’s ability reads: ‘Enemy ships at Range 1 cannot perform focus or evade actions and cannot spend focus or evade tokens’.  Thanks for that. Winner. (Check your sarcasm radars if they’re not beeping right now).

Inquisitor.png
Look at that amazing artwork.  The At-At in the background is a real winner.

How about the Inquisitor? ‘When attacking with your primary weapon at Range 2-3, treat the range of the attack as Range 1’.
Defensive range bonuses? None.
Autothrusters on Ello? Denied.

On reflection, it seems that Alex’s list was actually the worst thing I could have come across, it had lots of counters to my ships that seemed rather action reliant. On top of this, I really didn’t fly well.  Alex flew better.  Alex won.

The real turning point was when I misjudged an angle and flew my Y-Wing onto a rock. Funnily enough, had I not done that, I could have taken a target lock; I could have attacked.  What I did was render myself defenceless.  Wide open.

I still had Ello for the end game but against three aces, it wasn’t ever going to end well for me.

100-0 to Alex

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They’re closing in! The Y-Wing was on the rock seconds ago.  Poor angle judgement on my part.

Game Three of the Slow Grow Third Round: Simon played a Stress Hog, Two Green Squadron Pilot A-Wings each with PTL and Juke and Tarn With R5 (or R7, I think it was R5. Let’s say it was R5. Or R7. Some Astromech). Another similar list to my own.

100 – 0 to Simon

This was my best flying. I knew the dials and used my ships to block and consciously think ahead. My ships fulfilled their potential as arc dodgers yet I still finished with my ships floating in small pieces wildly through space.

So where did I go wrong? The initial engagement was really tricky for my first Green Squadron Pilot, I misjudged where he might go and he landed in line of Simon’s two A-Wing firing arcs.

My plan was to use the A-Wings in an attempt to block Juke. I remembered to use Crack Shot on both ships in order to force a hit through being as Simon wanted to save both his focus and evade tokens to maximise the potential of Juke taking effect.  This worked on the whole, but trying to get damage through on ships that have three green dice, a focus and an evade token is incredibly hard when you only have two attack dice.  Chipping away.

Ello was the first to go down. I deliberately tried to play him at range 3 to make the most of Autothrusters but I stupidly ended up in range of Simon’s Stress-Hog. This resulted in me having two stress tokens to clear, I knew he would be out from that point. I managed to make Ello last another two rounds because I really did make the most of his role as an arc dodger. In the end, it was Juke that nailed Ello. A stressed Ello is an unhappy Ello.

Check the stress!

I know my flying has improved. The problem isn’t my ability as an arc dodger, it’s the concentration of where my fire power was going.

When I first started playing, I was clumsier, I hit asteroids more and I flew off of the board 1 in 5 games (I guesstimate) but importantly, I began each game by identifying my main threat and concentrating my firepower in that direction. During the course of the Slow Grow, I practised and honed my flying but at the sacrifice of offensive tactics.

Am I likely to play this list again? Who knows?  I don’t necessarily think the list is at fault.  I put it together before Wave 8, so it might not be reflective of the current meta, but it still containse an arc dodger, two jousters and a (locked) turret.  I also encountered similar variations during this round of the tournament.

It is now that I realise that I’ve been playing the list wrong. I held the stress hog back to maximise the use of TLT, using the A-Wings as fodder because of their high agility count and 4 hits taken before they go down. It occured to me that what I should be doing was use the Y-Wing for it’s tanky capability, especially in this match up.  I pitted Y-Wing against Y-Wing, when atcually what I wanted to do was double stress the A-Wings and stop my oppoenent’s actions taking place. It might have been unlikely that I would have got a shot through because of the high agility count, but the stress is what mattered here.

What do you achieve with an end-game where you have only a Stress-Hog? Zip. Nadda. In the last few rounds, I had a lone Green Squadron pilot (without Autothrusters, I might add) hanging in for a further three rounds, dodging firing arcs and then chipping away at one of Simon’s Green Squaron pilots until my pilot inevitably got caught.

What was the big lesson? When you’re opponent explains their list to you, identify the threat and then focus on how you might counter it.  This doesn’t mean simply put all of your egg-ships in the same basket but it means think carefully about how you might deploy the separate elements of your list and for what purpose. Game One – Miranda Vs Ello in the end game? Really? When was she going to go down? I should have used the Stress-Hog sooner and taken her actions away. Game Two, I should have focussed more on taking out Carnor. What would have done that? Stress-Hog.  Game Three, I really should have stressed at least one of the A-Wings.

The current meta in my area sees those U-boats creeping in, leaving little room for Stress-Hogs. Right now, I can’t help but see many missed opportunities in this and they’re all Y-Wing shaped.